The Not-So-Caffeinated Life

Hallucinations, being crabby, and not being able to control my motor skills while I run! That sounds like a typical run for me, but toss in no sleep and this sounds like  a recipe for fun.

When my training began no one told me I may have to deprive myself of caffeine to beat sleep deprivation.  To understand why Bart Yasso told me to cut out caffeine from now to May 21 (while training for my 24 hour charity run), I needed to understand exactly what sleep deprivation is and what are the symptoms.

Sleep Deprivation – Sleep deprivation happens to a runner most often in a 24-hour or longer race or training session, and most always happens during 24-hour or longer adventure races. Some athletes experiencing sleep deprivation experience hallucinations. Sleep deprivation has been linked to physical effects such as increased insulin resistance and decreased glucose tolerance, and increased cortisol (a stress hormone).

Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your health in the form of physical and mental impairments. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and moderate our emotions. In fact, sleep is so important to our overall health that total sleep deprivation has been proven to be fatal.
While sleep deprivation is a sleep disorder, many runners experience it on a case-by-case basis during races or training efforts, and simply catching up on sleep reverses all effects.
Ok, now to the main point of  no caffeine.  Whats the point – if I want to stay up all night should I not consume more caffeine?  Here is Bart‘s logic – by cutting out caffeine for the next 2 months, besides living with a massive headache and being cranky for a few days my body will will learn to live without and I won’t rely on it to keep me “perked up”.  Remember, Bart said 2 months, on May 21st, I will reintroduce caffeine to my system and BANG, POW, ZIP, it will be like having caffeine for the very first-time again.  Come on, you remember that feeling, slight buzz, wide eyes, racing heart and can’t sleep for 2 or 3 days, that is the exact affect I want for 24-hours.
Here is the 24-hour question: Can I (or the people around me) survive 2 months of non-caffeinated life?  I’d like to hear what your thoughts on the subject.
Failure is not an option!

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